Review: THE GRIFT by Debra Ginsberg

This is not the kind of novel I’m used to reading but its description and title intrigued me enough to request it through a Shelf Awareness ad. The story revolves around a psychic who tries to escape an unsavory past in Florida to start anew. In doing so, she also leaves her loyal customers, some of whom depend on her for their daily dose of hope and in some cases, enjoyment of dreaded events to come. Marina moves to California where she hangs out her shingle and soon draws a new crop of clients. It isn’t long before her past catches up with her, but it isn’t clear at first who (or what) among her clientele is trying to do her harm.

I found the writing a bit awkward in the beginning but it got better towards the middle of the book. The first half suffered from an over-descriptive narrative and not enough dialogue. Much of the story was filled with what the characters were thinking and feeling and what exactly led them to behave the way they did. It would have served the reader better if there was a lot less ‘thinking’ and a bit more ‘doing’. The characters, except for for the main protagonist, lacked substance. They were either very good or very bad, or switched between the two extremes without displaying an emotional middle ground.

I enjoyed this book for its story – the hint of mystery, Marina’s visions and what they conveyed, the ‘six degrees of separation’ relationships between the characters. The Grift did hold my attention and despite the lack of character depth and some writing flaws, I enjoyed it more than some other novels I could name - but won’t, since they’re not worth the mention.



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